Military Spouses Education Benefits- DEA

Survivor's and Dependent's Education Assistance Program (DEA)



Spouses and children of some veterans are eligible for a range of educational assistance opportunities. The program will pay for most types of vocational or academic education and testing, including on-the-job training. In some cases it can also be used for refresher or remedial education.


You will qualify for this program if you are the son, daughter or spouse of:

1. A veteran who died or is totally disabled as a result of a service-connected injury while on active duty.

2. A veteran whose death occurred while totally disabled (regardless of cause).

3. An active service member who is a prisoner of a “hostile force” or who is missing in action.

4. An active service member who is imprisoned or forcibly detained in the line of duty by a foreign power or a foreign government.

5. An active duty service member who is either hospitalized or in outpatient treatment for a total and permanent disability who is expected to be discharged because of the disability (this provision became effective on December 23, 2006).

Type of Assistance

Spouses and dependents who meet these qualifications are eligible for up to 45 months of education benefits, which can be used for any type of education.


Children who qualify for the program may use the benefits for school or job training. They must use the benefits while they are between ages 18 and 26. For spouses who qualify, the benefits are available to you for a period of up to ten years from the date the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that you are eligible or from the date of the death of the veteran. For surviving spouses of service members who died while on active duty, the benefits can be used up to 20 years from the date of death.

How to Get Started

Once you choose the program in which you plan to enroll, check and be certain that the program is approved for VA programs. Then complete the appropriate form (VA Form 22-5490) and send it to the regional office that covers the state where you will attend school. If you have already started in an educational program, take your completed paperwork to the appropriate person with your school or company and ask them to send it to the Department of Veterans Affairs with the completed enrollment certification form (VA Form 22-1999).

Montgomery G.I. Bill

The MGIB program provides up to 36 months of education benefits... Active Duty selected reserve

Post 9/11 G.I. Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing... more info

Yellow Ribbon Program

The higher of the actual tuition & fees or the national maximum... more info
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